Next Friday, Colleen O’Connor will be heard alongside the voices of President Obama, Korean rap star Psy and the iconic Diana Ross during TNT’s annual “Christmas in Washington” special.
A Louisville resident, O’Connor is a seasoned voice-over actor, serving for the sixth time as narrator and emcee of the cable television variety show featuring a star-studded lineup and host Conan O’Brien.
O’Connor moved to the Derby City in 2003 from Washington, D.C., after her husband Peter was transferred for business. A former radio personality in cities including Buffalo and Chicago, O’Connor graduated from the Louisville School of Massage following her move. She’s now the owner of Elements Therapeutic Massage in Westport Village, balancing her time between her business and recording voice-over work on the local and national level.
The Voice-Tribune caught up with O’Connor to learn more about her career in both voice-over and massage therapy. You can catch her at 8 p.m. on Dec. 21 on the TNT network. Benefiting the Children’s National Medical Center, “Christmas in Washington” will also include performances from Demi Lovato of “The X Factor” and “American Idol” winner Scott McCreery.
– Ashley Anderson, Staff Writer, The Voice-Tribune
How did your job with TNT’s “Christmas in Washington” come about?
When you’re a voice-over person, you have to market yourself, and there’s a very active community in the D.C. area. I was on a group CD … and they chose me off the CD.
When will viewers hear your voice during the show?
You’ll hear it when I’m introducing Conan O’Brien and Diana Ross (among other celebrities). The majority of what people will see, the stuff that I record in between, is what’s coming up and (mentioning sponsors or advertisers like) Kay Jewelers and Walmart. That’s not stuff the live people see, it’s stuff to make the broadcast move smoother.
Have you met President Obama or any of the celebrities who attend?
No, they don’t even know I exist. (She laughed.)
Do you do other voice-over work besides the TNT special?
Most of my work is industrial, meaning that I do voice-overs for Macy’s but only Macy’s employees hear it, or I do voice-overs for Humana but only Humana employees hear it. … I’ve worked for a lot of different (companies).
What do you love most about voice-over work?
Well, even though I quit radio when we moved to D.C., I still love it. I love broadcasting. … (Voice-over) allows me to continue down that vein. I’ve always loved doing voice-overs. It’s probably something I’ve been doing since I was 18.
Did you study voice-over in college?
I have a B.A. in radio/television communications from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio.
What’s the secret to being a good voice-over actor?
I think that natural is better. You can always tell when someone is uncomfortable or forced. People say, “Talk to me like you would on a voice-over or commercial,” and I say, “I am!”
Do you travel often to do voice-over work?
I come to D.C. to do voice-over work probably five times a year, and one of the really cool shows that I ever got to do was on NBC for the Points of Light Foundation. … I got to introduce both President Bushes, President Carter and President Clinton – I almost cried. It was just amazing, and that was at the Kennedy Center.
Do you have an ultimate goal of working in both voice-over and massage therapy, or would you like to eventually focus on one career?
I do still continue to massage and will want to continue to massage for a long foreseeable future, and I will hopefully continue to do voice-overs as well. Both are very different career paths and give me flexibility.
How long has Elements been in business?
We’re celebrating our five-year anniversary and the community has been wonderful … and I have a great group of team members. … It’s just fabulous to be a part of Westport Village and … the entire community in Louisville.
Elements Therapeutic Massage Louisville is owned and operated by Colleen O’Connor, a nationally certified therapeutic massage therapist and bodyworker, and is located at Westport Village, 1301 Herr Lane. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.elementsmassage.com/louisville.